Broadcast Journalism at the U of A
University of Arizona
School of Journalism in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Full-time faculty: 16
Undergrad students: 430 (2018-19)
Broadcast Journalism Classes: 3
Annual budget - $2,139,193
Arizona State University
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism An independent College for 10 years
Full-time Faculty: 50
Broadcast Journalism Classes: 30
Annual Budget: 2020 Campaign $50-Million
ASSESSMENT - Comparing U of A and ASU Broadcast Journalism Programs
It is the tale of two programs. One opted to become a professional television outlet for PBS and NPR with very little student produced programming, Arizona Public Media, (U of A).
The other opted to do the exact opposite, Arizona PBS (ASU). ARIZONA PBS at ASU is the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Media. The students run the programming. And now PBS Newshour is moving their entire West Bureau out of L.A. and into the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism studios. This will further advance student involvement in professional training.
University of Arizona
Currently at the University of Arizona, there is a clear line in the resources and classes offered between Print Journalism and Broadcast journalism.
The UA has some amazing print journalists who lead the School of Journalism. But, there are scant classes and professionals on the broadcast side.
The lead instructor for the Broadcast Journalism side does a very good job and is a respected and creative videographer. But Broadcast Journalism is so much more than shooting wonderful pictures and understanding the technology - it is journalism.
There was a time when the University of Arizona through KUAT -TV and KUAZ FM 89.1 had a robust and highly structured University Radio and Television Program. I know, I was in that program. In just under 3 years the RTV training prepared me for a life-time professional career in Broadcast Journalism. Gradually, the format of KUAT and KUAZ has changed to all professional productions and no student-produced product.
Today, KUAT-TV and KUAZ-radio are branded as Arizona Public Media. This has been successful with wide listener and viewerships, audience support, and robust donor support. It is the NPR/PBS local affiliate. I am a proud member of AZPM. There is no doubt we are award winning journalists. Our track record is impressive compared to the Tucson and Phoenix commercial TV newsrooms.
The broadcast license held by the Arizona Board of Regents was once geared toward student advancement. AZPM does have a hand-full of paid student employees who work with the professionals providing training on the technical side of TV production. Also, there are 4 to 5 unpaid UA interns that get a chance to do radio stories. But overall, in my assessment, there is a void of students learning Broadcast Journalism skills at AZPM. This is my own personal assessment from playing an intricate role on the radio and TV sides of AZPM for the past 4 years.
For students to be effectively trained to prosper under current employer demands, they need to be actually working on radio, television, social media and learning the editing and graphic software skills most used in current broadcast journalism.
Interviewing for TV is vastly different than interviewing someone for print. There is camera presence that can be as important as fact-gathering, because if people don't believe what you are saying - the facts often become secondary. There is control of the quality and the tone of your voice. When it comes to radio or podcasting - how you say it is almost as important as what you say.
I see no classes in Broadcast (TV and Radio) Journalism in:
* TV Documentary Producing
* TV News Program Producing
* TV/Radio investigative reporting
* Camera presence
* Voice and Delivery
These things must be taught by professionals who have earned a living and a credible reputation with these skills. I compare Broadcast Journalism to surgery. You can be the best surgeon academically, but until you have applied those skills to real life situations - is is only on paper.
The basics of journalism are the same for PRINT and BROADCAST. Get it right. Be fair. Leave your opinions at home.
It is HOW those things are delivered that is the primary difference between PRINT and BROADCAST Journalism and the practice you get in developing the performance skills.
There is also a third form of journalism that has surfaced and can be very powerful and credible. That is journalism by website or social media. We need to teach UA students how to navigate this world. It is not going away, and yet where is the Broadcast Journalism training for this. A recent example of social media scamming as journalism: Pete Buttigieg Hoax
Arizona State University
The Arizona Board of Regents also holds the broadcast license for Channel 8, the PBS affiliate in Phoenix. The NPR license is not held by ABOR, but by Maricopa Community Colleges and housed at Rio Saldado College.
ASU is home to the Walter Cronkite School of Broadcast Journalism (renamed in 1984 with Walter Cronkite's permission and active participation).
The entire Cronkite curriculum is designed around the teaching hospital concept through which all 1,300 Cronkite students on campus — undergraduate and master’s — participate in one of more than a dozen professional immersion programs, guided by award-winning journalists and communications experts, applying what they have learned in the classroom in real-world environments. (from Cronkite Campaign 2020))